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Doris Rajan, Director of Social Development at IRIS, has written a brief titled, Women with Disabilities and Housing for the Learning Network at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children at the University of Western Ontario.

Funded by the Government of Ontario and commissioned by DAWN-RAFH Canada, this brief explores the barriers that women with disabilities face towards housing and how poverty and discrimination increases likelihood of homelessness and inadequate housing options.

The brief notes that it is not only physical barriers that exist towards housing and women with disabilities, but societal and attitudinal barriers of ableism.

More specifically, the brief emphasizes the need to address the issue of women and housing not only in terms of how disability intersects with other marginalized statues, but equally important, the commonalities in barriers and needs across acutely marginalized populations, such as Indigenous and refugee women.

A few key figures out of this brief note that:

  • Women with disabilities are more likely to spend over 50% of their before-tax income on housing than men with disabilities;
  • They are also more likely to need accessibility features in their homes; and
  • There is little indication that Canadian governments are providing housing support services to women with disabilities in a way that is allowing women to exit homelessness and access affordable housing.

The brief looks at the lived experience of housing as it relates to various groups of women, including those with disabilities, through an IRIS-led project titled, “Toronto – A Place to Call Our Own: Empowering Women to Take Action for Affordable Housing”.

The project brought together women through advocacy work and focus groups to address the needs of these groups of women and by doing so, finding solutions that benefit all people who are struggling with finding safe and accessible housing.

To find out more about this project, please contact Doris Rajan, Director of Social Development at IRIS, at d.rajan@irisinstitute.ca.